I was a little wary ahead of this year’s Christmas Special. The festive episodes have not always been the best, and when they are charged with ingratiating a new character into our lives as well, the pressure is really on. Thankfully, all my fears were unfounded as what we had here was a fantastic episode in its own right, plus a continuing mystery regarding the new companion as well.
The episode began with a Doctor that was uninterested in saving the world anymore, and was happy to retreat to his cloud of an evening and pass away the hours in solitude. On the other hand, we had a feisty Clara who was part barwoman, part governess, slipping in and out of accents as the situation required. I was a bit confused why she had two jobs and was hiding one from the other, but that didn’t seem a very important part of it. Far more important was that Harry from Silent Witness had a terrifying beard, and a big crush on his governess.
The Snowmen really weren’t that terrifying, their big smiling jaws were just snow, after all. Even though they had pointy teeth, it still looked like they were just laughing their way around the garden. They were also easily defeated, as all it took was a few tears. There had to be a baddy though, someone to gather the rather excellent team of “lizard woman” and “potato dude”. The one-word answer section was really well done, and actually quite thought-provoking, whilst Strax’s barely disguised rage created plenty of opportunity for amusing dialogue. Everything is a military operation for him, and his thoughtless proclamations in any situation were excellent. I hope we can see more of him in future. Madame Vestra and her friend/partner/wife Jenny were a little underused in this one, although I wonder if they are being set up for something in the future.
And in the end, it was all about Clara. That she could get the Doctor’s attention with one word, that he was instantly attracted to her (not in that way), and she to him (maybe in that way). “I don’t know why, I only know who,” he said, and repeated the sentence with how as well. They make a really good pair, there was even kissing that didn’t offend me! She was adventurous enough to follow the Doctor at the start, when many others wouldn’t, and he wasn’t expecting her to. She knew to call him when strange things were happening, and he was right there to help her, however reluctantly. She’s clever enough to challenge him, but still wide-eyed enough not to be smug like River.
Clara/Oswin/whoever she may be is a great addition to the cast, even if she hasn’t actually managed to begin her tenure as companion yet. Two episodes, and two deaths. At first, I was concerned she was going to be another Rory - overdoing the constant death and reincarnation just to tug at our heart strings. But no, the deaths are part of a bigger concern, and the Doctor is very fired up to find out what is going on. And so, I must admit, am I!